As is often the case, August 2017 was predicted to be the end of the world. If you’re reading this, congratulations – we survived (yet again!). This most recent of far-fetched end-of-world claims lined up with August 21st‘s Black Moon total eclipse, with the theory claiming that the End would be Nigh two days later. The cause of our demise? The planet ‘Nibiru’, or Planet X, crashing into our own. Fortunately, according to NASA and other credible scientists, the planet is completely fictitious, but that didn’t stop some people getting nervous! The theory hinged on numerology and various biblical verses, and had been ‘predicted’ several times in the past – all, obviously, with no results.
However, these thankfully empty claims weren’t the only hot air August subjected us to, nor the only cause for pessimism. The USA has been performing a full-scale historical re-enactment this month, taking the art to new levels by simultaneously recreating early 1930s Germany, the 1980s Cold War and their country’s long and troubling history of racial tensions. The increasingly concerning atmosphere of intolerance gained a focal-point in Charlottesville, in a display that left the world and America alike shocked and saddened. The only thing more unsettling than the Confederate and Nazi flags proudly displayed at the march is the knowledge that this is far from the only fear-fuelled racist incident happening in the country, purportedly the land of freedom and equal opportunity.
Meanwhile, a shouting match between the USA and North Korea has some people eyeing do-it-yourself fallout bunkers and avoiding their copies of Dr Strangelove; Hurricane Harvey left many in the Southern American states without homes or shelter, whilst excessive monsoon floods have caused even greater devastation across much of South Asia; divisions and violence still exist throughout the Middle East, including the continued isolation of Qatar; and let us not forget Barcelona, as 13 lost their lives and over one hundred were injured in the most recent of the terrorist attacks occurring across Europe.
It may be no Planet X, but last month certainly made it hard to feel optimistic. However, as our closely-connected world keep reminding each other, wherever there is conflict, fear or hatred, there is a stronger outcry of love. This month, we spoke with author and photographer Anthony Osmond-Evans, whose new book looks to promote pluralism and tolerance through a compilation of stories from living global heroes, aiming to show the good that exists beyond barriers around the world.
As people of every persuasion seem to be gathering into ‘sides’, it may help to remember all of the figures who have achieved change through peace, love and communication with their ‘enemy’. As we move into September, let us all stand up against hate, with our arms and minds open to speak with each other about how to move forwards, instead of striking each other back. We may hate certain ideas, but we must strive not to hate those who think them if we ever want to see true change.
Happy September, and in the words of Bill & Ted: Be excellent to each other (and party on, dude!)